Marks & Frantz in The Wall Street Journal – Mad Maximalism Rules!

Bored with white minimalist interiors? This weekend in The Wall Street Journal, there is an article about Mad Maximalism and Over-the-Top-Notch Decor, featuring a Marks & Frantz designed Family Room. As many of our readers already know, we have a crazy obsession with pattern and color! Sure, we have done neutral rooms for many clients;  but rich, lush color combinations and layered rooms make us breathless! The challenge of creating complex interiors that delight the senses at every glance, while appearing effortless, is not an easy task. For this family room, our client said “more is more, bring it on!”

Family Game Room

“This richly rowdy family room, designed by Marks & Frantz, exemplifies the emerging aesthetic that is making minimalist spaces seem tired and barren” – WSJ. Photo by Marco Ricca

Maximalism, here’s how to pull it off! 

This family room is a classic example of a true maximalist interior! Martina Mondador Sartogo, editor of Cabana Magazine, lists 10 key elements that help to bring maximalism to the mainstream. Below are a few more images of the room to illustrate this aesthetic. Here are some of our favorite rules, a “cheat sheet” for the controlled chaos that is maximalism:

Pass on Pastels – you may want to throw in a neutral for a visual rest, but think big

Embellish the walls – paint, wallpaper, love it all

Look down (and up,) ceilings and floors are super important

Seek out the unique

Provoke with pattern, mix scale and pattern type for full effect

Be patient, ruminate and cultivate

mad maximalism rules

Marks & Frantz Family Game Room

Goodbye to bland and boring…

In a world where Restoration Hardware is democratizing design, maximalism is a feast for the eyes. It calls for individuality and personality. It reflects the mind of a collector, the wanderlust of a traveler and the heart of a dreamer. In a time of uncertainty, maximalism is a breath of fresh air.

Family Game Room

Custom biscuit-tufted sofa designed by Marks & Frantz for EF-LM Atelier collection. Sofa fabric is Dedar’s new Splendido velvet. Wall paper is Miami from Cole & Sons

Comfort is key

Another key attribute to a maximalist interior is the desire to walk in and stay a while. The room must be comfortable and inviting. It should evoke the desire to curl up in a corner with a book and sip bourbon with your besties. It should harken back to a time before cell phones, encourage family time and play time.

Family Game Room

Cozy corner banquette designed by Marks & Frantz and constructed by Marks and Tavano is the perfect complement to the shagreen John Lyle game table: backgammon on one side, flips over for chess! The painting on the left is Shawn Delaney and on the right is Eugene Brodsky, both at Sears Peyton Gallery, NYC


Custom Game Room

Custom window treatments by Marks & Tavano, drapery fabric from Dedar. Custom shuffleboard table designed specifically for this room; Venture Shuffleboards


Family Game Room

Custom backgammon table from Alexandra Llewellyn and a silver and gold vintage palm tree from Newel brightens up a corner.


Luxury Game Room

Pair of crystal starburst chandeliers from Matthews Studio and a vintage heriz from JD Oriental anchor the room, design by Marks & Frantz

We are so honored to be in the company of other maximalist “experts” Kati Curtis Design, Alexa Hampton and Michelle Nussbaumer. Thank you again Wall Street Journal and @WSJlife! 

breakfast nook

Breakfast nook by Kati Curtis Design is a perfect example of mixing scale to create visual harmony. 


Alexa Hampton’s very own maximalist bedroom “My version of maximalist is to have a lot of the same color, which allowed me to mix disparate elements but have a veneer of similitude.”



Michelle Nussbaumer’s Dallas library is another great example of how to layer patterns and play with scale.

Some of our favorite partners in pulling off our luxurious interiors and in creating this spectacular family room:

Edward Ferrell – Lewis Mittman for all custom upholstery designed by Marks & Frantz, and to purchase the sofa and swivel chairs shown above. All fabrics in the rooms are from Dedar. Antiques were procured from our most beloved secret sources: JD Oriental Rugs, High Style Deco, , Area ID and Newel Gallery.

Many of our secret sources for custom games are as follows:

Alexandra Llewelyn for the portable backgammon table with inlaid stones and exotic hardwoods.

John Lyle for exquisite game table made from shagreen and ivory. for chess and checkers

Custom-sized shuffleboard table from Venture Shuffleboard, because everyone should own one! 

Contact Us

Have an upcoming design project that you’ve been thinking of and don’t know where to start? 

Click here to arrange a no-cost consultation. We’re looking forward to the conversation.

Lydia Marks & Lisa Frantz








Save the Date – Young Collector’s Night

Please join Lisa and Lydia at the Young Collector’s Night at Park Avenue Armory on Thursday, January 26, 2017. As members of the Interior Design Committee this year, we encourage all of our family, friends and clients to join us for this special event, part of the 2017 Winter Antiques Show.

The Winter Antiques Show is one of the leading art, antiques and design fairs in the America. The show features an eclectic collection of antiquities through post modern pieces from some of the world’s most interesting dealers. One-third of the Show’s exhibitors specialize in Americana, with the rest featuring English, European, and Asian fine and decorative arts.

Proceeds from this event are to benefit East Side Settlement House. East Side Settlement House is a 125-year-old,  community-based organization in the South Bronx. They work with schools and community centers to bring quality education and resources to residents of the Bronx and Northern Manhattan. Recognizing education as the key to economic and civic opportunity, they help individuals improve their lives each year.  The programs range from basic literacy to specialized technology training.

If you cannot make the Young Collector’s Night, please try to attend the magical Winter Antiques Show on another day between January 20 – 29 at the Park Avenue Armory, Park Avenue at 67th Street.

Come share a cocktail with Lisa and Lydia and take a private tour from 7-9pm! 

Click here to purchase tickets for Young Collector’s Night!

Winter Antiques Show save the date

Young Collector’s Night


Inside the $50K decadent Thanksgiving feast Served in NYC

Come join Lydia and myself as we splurge at The Old Homestead for a decadent feast this Thanksgiving in New York City, profiled here on ABC News.

The star of the table, an $85 per pound, free-range, organically raised turkey, is deliciously seasoned with an exotic spice mix imported from the Middle East. It is basted with imported $17-an-ounce extra virgin olive oil from Italy.  The turkey stuffing is more than your average stale bread and meat. Old Homestead takes it up a notch by adding $465 per pound imported Japanese prized Wagyu beef, $54-a-pound foie gras and $46-a-loaf sourdough bread imported from the U.K.

The rich meal is also accompanied by out-of-this-world gravy that has been infused with bourbon priced at $2,890 a bottle. The steakhouse’s orange cranberry sauce included wine from France that costs $1,750 bottle. There were two kinds of mashed potatoes: sweet potatoes topped with $1,600-an-ounce caviar and garlic mashed with creamy $35-an-ounce imported white Stilton cheese.

In previous years, the Old Homestead included an engagement ring in the Thanksgiving dinner. For 2016, the package includes other non-edible delights like a Fifth Avenue shopping spree, a one-night stay at the renowned Waldorf Astoria hotel, four tickets to the Nov. 20 NY Giants-Chicago Bears football game at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and four tickets to prime seating at the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Apparently, they serve 3 party seatings of 8 people each and every year, this decadent feast is a sellout! We are dying to know who will be dining with us at this year’s dinner! 

By the way,  kidding about our presence at The Old Homestead dinner….I am having Thanksgiving with friends and family in Brooklyn and Lydia will be with same near Boston. 

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll, enjoy your own decadent feast! 


$50k Thanksgiving feast in New York City



Friday Favorites…we are obsessed with canopy beds

We have recently become obsessed with Canopy Beds at Marks & Frantz. I have never given them an ounce of thought prior to 2010. They reminded me of the ruffled canopy crib that evolved into a ruffled canopy bed that graced my childhood bedrooms!

As soon as I was old enough to make my own decor choices and because my parents moved often enough, I demanded a new teenage “look”. I went right for a blue & black palette, Conran Shop-inspired formica bed and a little bit of Memphis thrown in. Don’t judge me, it was the eighties in Houston, Texas! There is no way I could have known any better. I couldn’t get far enough away from a canopy bed.

Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve come around. Kind of fab, right? xo Lisa

Yellow canopy featured in Vogue 2012

Steven Gambrel bedroom

Steven Gambrel bedroom from House Beautiful – my absolute favorite designer


canopy beds designed by Windsor Smith

This canopy bed was designed by Windsor Smith


Painted Floors

House Beautiful had a feature in their latest issue featuring painted floors and the designers and artisans responsible for them. As I delved deeper in the stories and started poking around the internet, I came across a whole range of craftsmen who work in the industry for some of the super–star designers. Their websites show this huge breadth of varied work that was truly mind-blowing, but more on them later once I have a chance to work with them and explore their studios.

This article did inspire Lydia and I to consider painting the floor in a client’s foyer for a project we have in progress in Manhattan. The beige limestone floor came with the apartment purchased by our clients and was the only thing we left untouched in this foyer. It was relatively new and in pristine condition, so it seemed best to work with it, but our wheels are turning and you may see a big surprise when we actually shoot the finished foyer!

This is a

This is a “foyer in progress” by Marks & Frantz in NYC, stay tuned for the after shots!


Miles Redd designed foyer

Miles Redd designed foyer

Jeffrey Bilhuber





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